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Delta govt, NIM, Nollywood, others mourn Oniga

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Leaders of conscience under the auspices of Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), a mass movement co-chaired by Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) and Dr. Abduljeleel Tafawa Balewa have expressed regret over the sudden demise of ace actress and National Ambassador of the Group, Chief Rachel Oniga, who departed the world on Friday, July 30, 2021 at 64 years, after a brief illness.

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In a statement signed by Sir Olawale Okunniyi, Director General, of the movement, “Oniga as a member of the leadership of the Nigeria Intervention Movement during her lifetime, helped to promote the ideals and values of the group tremendously. She was at the inaugural meeting of the movement at BON Hotels, Asokoro, Abuja on November 28, 2017, where she spoke as the voice of the Nigerian Nollywood.”

The statement said, “she was a very committed ambassador of the movement agenda to take back power to the masses of Nigeria and she was involved in the movement accords in some states of the federation and at the National level, which yielded results during the 2019 elections. Lady Rachel Oniga, a title Chief of Ile Ife, installed by Oba Sijuwade Olubuse, lived and died as a voice of the voiceless.

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“Our consolation in her exit is drawn from a life well spent by the screen goddess and ambassador of the voiceless. We therefore pray for the repose of her soul and fortitude to bear this huge loss by her children and family members. We hope to explore a way of immortalising her legacies in succeeding days. Racheal Oniga lives on.”

The Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, also yesterday, expressed shock at the passing of Oniga.

Okowa, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, said the late thespian was a consummate actress, lamenting that her demise was a huge loss to Urhobo nation, Delta and Nigeria.

While commiserating with the Oniga family, Urhobo nation and Nollywood over the passing of veteran actress, who hails from Eku in Ethiope East Local Government Area of the State, he noted that the deceased contributed immensely to the “revolution” in the movie industry in the country, saying that she was a great name in Nollywood, which she contributed hugely in birthing and nurturing.

Okowa said; “on behalf of the government and people of Delta, I offer my deepest condolences to Oniga family and friends, including the Nollywood community where the late veteran movie actress featured prominently as a matriarch.

“She was true, a household name and pride of our State. She will be greatly missed by movie lovers and Deltans.”

The governor prayed God to grant eternal rest to the soul of the departed Oniga and comfort her family and all who mourn her.

Also, in a video she shared on her verified Instagram page, Patience Ozokwo said, “Oh Rachel, I can’t believe this. I thought it was one of those scams. If anyone had told me it was going to be so sudden, I would not have believed it.

“Rachel, we had discussions the last time we met when we were doing Chief Daddy part two.

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“I believed this because I saw it on the Actors Guild of Nigeria’s page. No one even told me you were sick. I couldn’t even say sorry to my friend.

“Sorry my sister. Sorry. The ‘sorry’ I couldn’t say to you when you were sick. I didn’t know you were sick. I’m not even in the country.

“My sister from another mother. All the plans we had together. God knows the heart.

“The heavens have done it’s worst. So sad, so heartrending. I’ll miss you so much.”

MEANWHILE, the Oniga family has confirmed the cause of her death, stating that the veteran actress died of health-related issues, and not COVID-19, as being speculated on social media.

The family revealed in a statement titled, ‘An official statement on the passing of Chief Rachel Tabuno Oniga,’ which was signed by her sister, Toyin Odusote, that “Contrary to diverse reports informing that she died from COVID-19 complications, we write to inform the general public that she died from a heart-related issue; an ailment she battled with for a short period before her demise.

The statement reads, “With a heavy heart and total submission to God, we write to announce the passing unto glory of our beloved sister, mother and grandmother; Chief Rachel Tabuno Oniga.

“She died in a Lagos hospital at the age of 64, on Friday, 30th of July 2021, at about 10pm.

“We accept her sudden transition as God’s design and we see it as a function of a race of life well finished. Painful as it may be, we accept it in good faith and total submission to her maker.

“We, therefore, desire to be allowed to mourn her death privately for now, as we do this with deep sense of respect for her soul and the glorious life she lived.

“Burial arrangements will be announced in due cause. We appreciate the calls, messages and condolences expressed by everyone and we pray for a sweet repose of her beautiful soul.

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“Please accept this release as the only authentic one on behalf of the family until we come up with another.”

BORN May 23, 1957 in Ebute Metta, Lagos State, Rachel started her acting career in 1993. She worked briefly at Ascoline Nigeria Limited, a Dutch Consultant Company before her first movie titled, Onome. Her debut Yoruba movie was Owo Blow.

Over the years, Oniga also featured in notable Nigerian films such as Sango, a movie scripted by Wale Ogunyemi, produced and directed by Obafemi Lasode for Even Ezra Studio and Wale Adenuga’s television series, Super story, Doctor Bello, Out of Bound, 30 Days in Atlanta, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, The Wedding Party and most recently, My Village People. She had also featured in Wale Adenuga’s television series.

It was gathered that she had only a few days ago shot some scenes in a movie in Mowe, Ogun State, before her demise.

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